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The planning approval process regulates the use and development of land by assessing proposals against the Flinders Planning Scheme 1994 and Tasmanian Planning Legislation. Specifically, it examines the impact of the proposed development, or use, on the land and/or surrounding area. This is opposed to the building approval process that regulates the assesses a proposed development against the Building Code of Australia and Plumbing Regulations.


When is planning approval required?

There are detailed provisions in the Planning Scheme (Flinders Planning Scheme 1994) which set out whether a planning permit application (often referred to as a development application) is required or exempt for specific uses and development.  

Planning approval is commonly required for the following examples:

  • Land development such as subdivision and boundary adjustment;
  • New structures (depending upon type and siting);
  • Changing the use of existing buildings for example visitor accommodation; and
  • Extension or alteration of existing buildings

What planning zone am I in?

Each parcel of land has a defined zone (i.e. Rural, Residential, Commercial). This zone determines what use and development standards you are required to meet. The latest planning scheme zone maps in PDF format are available here. Zoning information and maps can also be accessed through LISTmap, a set of instructions can also be found in this section. 

Do I need a Planning Permit?

If you are unsure if you need to apply for a Planning Permit, please complete a Development Enquiry Form (001 Form) and submit it to Development Services. This completed form will provide the information needed to determine if you require a permit or are exempt.

We have compiled a Planning, Building and Plumbing Information Pack for those wishing to plan or build within the Flinders Municipality. This information pack contains all relevant application forms, frequently asked questions and process flowcharts.


How do I apply for a Planning Permit?

Please complete the Planning Permit Application Form and Checklist enclosed within the Information Pack, and located here. Once complete, please lodge forms and any required additional information to Flinders Council via mail, front desk or email.

An application fee will need to be paid before Council commences an assessment of the application. Please refer to the current Flinders Council Fees and Charges for more information on fees. This invoice will be issued shortly after the application has been received.


Should I engage a professional to assist with my application?

If your application is straightforward and, for example, involves a change of use with little structural alterations to the building, you may not need professional advice. In many cases though, it is recommended that you seek professional assistance with the application, especially where detailed drawings and/or site analysis is required.


How long does the application assessment process take?

When the Planning Permit Application is received, the Development Services team will work to determine the application type (i.e. Permitted or Discretionary). Once the application type is determined, an invoice for the Planning Permit Application and any other relevant fees will be issued.

When the invoice for your Planning Permit Application fees has been paid, the Development Services team will send your application on to Planners for assessment. The Planner will assess your application, taking into account where the land is located (zone) and how the Flinders Planning Scheme 1994 determines aspects of your proposed development. Following this, the timeframe to when a decision is made will be dependent on the application type.

Legislation requires councils to process a planning application within a maximum of 42 days but many applications take less time to process.

Processing times will vary depending on:

  • the complexity of the application;
  • the number of applications already being considered by Council;
  • whether all necessary information has been provided at the beginning; and
  • whether the application is a permitted or discretionary one
Additional information may be requested by the Council, in this case, the 42 day time period will be paused until the information is received and is to the Council’s satisfaction.

What is the difference between a Permitted and Discretionary Application?

‘Permitted’ Applications

Section 58(2) of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act (LUPAA), requires a Council to grant a permit, with or without conditions, on any permitted application within 28 days of the application being received by the Council.

This time frame can be extended by a written agreement between the applicant and the Council. This agreement must occur before the 28 days has lapsed.

‘Permitted Application’ means any proposed development or use that complies with the provisions of the Planning Scheme and thus under Section 51 of LUPAA must be granted a permit, with or without conditions.

A permitted application does not need to be advertised; thus, no third-party appeal rights exist. The applicant must be informed of the Council’s decision within 7 days of the permit being granted. The applicant may appeal any condition of the permit.


‘Discretionary’ Applications

Section 57(1) of The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act (LUPPA), requires Council to decide on a discretionary application within 42 days of receiving it. In that time, Council must advertise the application and allow 14 days for representations to be received.

Council must consider those representations and decide to either refuse the application, approve it or approve it subject to conditions. The Council may extend the 42 day time period with the approval of the applicant.

Advertising is undertaken in accordance with LUPPA by:

  • notice in The Examiner newspaper
  • notice displayed at Council Chambers
  • notices displayed at each public frontage of the land
  • notices to each adjoining owner and occupier of the land

If representations are received Council must consider those representations at an ordinary meeting of Council (see Ordinary Meeting of Council dates) and decide to either approve, refuse or amend any proposed conditions. All this shall occur within the 42-day time frame unless prior written consent from the application is made. The applicant may appeal the decision and anybody who has made representations may also appeal the decision to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT).


Do I need a permit if I want to list my property as short or medium term accommodation?

For any existing dwellings or residential premises where a fee is being charged for the use of short or medium term visitor accommodation, owners must:

  1. Apply for planning approval in the form of a ‘Change of Use’ Application
  2. Complete a Building Self-Assessment Form to determine whether additional requirements and obligations are required


How long is a Planning Permit valid for?

A Planning Permit and associated approval will lapse two years after the date planning approval was granted if a substantial commencement on the development has not been made. Once a substantial start has been made your permit is active into perpetuity and will not lapse or cease. To determine if you have made a substantial commencement, please get in touch with the Development Services team.


I have a Planning Permit, what is the next step?

Read your conditions! If the permit is for a built structure you may need to apply for Building and Plumbing Permits.



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